Inpatient addictions treatment in Scotland: a service evaluation

First published: 10 May 2019 | Last updated: 20 May 2019

The Ritson clinic is a 12-bed unit in Scotland providing inpatient addiction treatment. It serves a largely urban population of 850,000 and provides services including alcohol detoxification in complex patients as well as opioid titration, stabilisation, conversion and detoxification. This study aimed to identify characteristics of patients admitted; to examine the interventions being delivered; to look at the outcomes of cognitive screening on patients undergoing alcohol detox and to establish the rates of engagement with follow-up, lapse and relapse at 6 weeks. Data were collected on 315 consecutive admissions over a 1 year period. 70% of patients were male and the average age was 45 years. 80% of patients were admitted for benzodiazepine-assisted alcohol detoxification and 23% for changes to their opiate prescribing. Over 70% of patients had a comorbid mental health diagnosis, 11% had a diagnosis of alcoholic liver disease and 21% had chronic pain. The mean score on the Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Assessment III was 83 (alcohol patients only). 85% of patients remained abstinent at 6 weeks.  Key recommendations included the collection of data pertaining to a wider range of physical health comorbidies; evaluating the results of cognitive screening in the context of functional impairment and improving community key worker engagement in providing aftercare data. The service evaluation was presented to ward staff and their input was sought on assimilating the recommendations into usual clinical practice before the study and its recommendations were distributed to the community teams for consultation and feedback.


Dr Rebecca Lawrence, Consultant Psychiatrist, NHS Lothian

Awarded: First prize

Conflicts of interest:

Funding Sources: None

No conflict of interests


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Dr Catherine Crowe